Notable People Who Died in 2012
At 2:30 pm on December 26, 2012
82, Aug. 25 | Apollo astronaut whose “giant leap for mankind” made him the first human to set foot on the moon.
Stuart Barton Babbage
96, Nov. 16 | British and Australian educator who, in a 10-year sojourn in America that began in 1963, served first as president of Conwell School of Theology at Temple University in Philadelphia, then played a key role in merging it in 1969 with Gordon Divinity School in Boston.
104, Oct. 25 | Columbia University historian and administrator and author of many books on the shaping of culture, including at age 92 his masterwork, From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life. In his 1954 book, God’s Country and Mine, he coined the often-quoted aphorism: “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.”
88, Feb. 24 | Beloved author of mega-seller children’s books who with her late husband created the Berenstain Bears series of hundreds of picture books that helped guide millions of young readers along the pathways of childhood.
Anthony “Tony” Blankley
63, Jan. 7 | Conservative author, columnist, political commentator, former White House aide in the Reagan administration, press secretary for House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and editorial director of The Washington Times who started out as a child actor on Lassie, Make Room for Daddy, and other TV shows.
91, June 5 | Influential, imaginative master of science fiction and fantasy whose books sold more than 8 million copies in 36 languages.
43, March 1 | Conservative writer, activist, and website operator who was behind investigations that brought down the liberal social action coalition ACORN and uncovered the sexting scandal involving former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
64, June 6 | English working-class woman who at age 30 on July 25, 1978, gave birth to the first baby (a girl) conceived outside the womb by in-vitro fertilization (with her husband’s sperm).
80, April 21 | One of the evangelical movement’s most respected and influential figures, the former presidential adviser rose rapidly to prominence following his conversion and a brief federal prison term for obstruction of justice during the Watergate era. His bestsellers (beginning with Born Again in 1976), other writings, and speeches explained the Christian faith and its implications for believers. He founded Prison Fellowship to support ex-convicts and press for reform. A Southern Baptist who liked Calvinist theologians, he was a bridge builder who also promoted evangelical-Catholic dialogue. His was a Christian worldview “with shoes on.”
79, July 16 | Motivational self-help speaker and author of the 1989 best-selling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (more than 25 million copies sold worldwide).
Frank Moore Cross
91, Oct. 16 | Harvard biblical scholar and expert in Semitic languages. His overall work established the amazingly meticulous faithfulness of medieval Hebrew copies of Old Testament Scriptures to the text of those from the first two centuries A.D.
Frederick W. Danker
91, Feb. 2 | Lutheran New Testament scholar who in 2009 published his widely hailed crowning achievement, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.
63, May 12 | Pioneer of black campus ministry and racial reconciliation with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
Paul “Hermano Pablo” Finkenbinder
90, Jan. 27 | Assemblies of God missionary whose far-flung “Message to the Conscience” broadcast ministry, now aired daily in 33 countries, made “Brother Paul” Latin America’s best-known preacher for decades.
82, Sept. 26 | Prize-winning historian (Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made) whose journey from Communism to Catholicism and social conservatism led him to cast the South in a new, more positive light.
73, July 1 | Former Campus Crusade for Christ leader who in 1979 cofounded the Evangelical Orthodox Church, but with a desire to observe apostolic succession in 1987 led 17 EOC churches and some 2,000 members into the Antiochian Orthodox branch of Eastern Orthodoxy, which he served as a North American archpriest. He also was an author (Love Is Now) and former senior editor at the Thomas Nelson publishing firm.
86, Aug. 13 | Long-time federal employee who left her job to launch the annual March for Life in 1974, following the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that had forced states to legalize abortion in 1973. She took part in every march, which attracts thousands of pro-life advocates to Washington every January.
86, July 3 | America’s favorite sheriff (as widower Andy Taylor in fictional Mayberry, N.C.) on The Andy Griffith Show, a series about family values that became one of the most popular and durable shows in television history. He found later success in playing folksy Atlanta lawyer Ben Matlock—his favorite role. His wife Cindi said Andy “was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called home to his Lord.”
87, Feb. 28 | Theologian at Colgate-Rochester who was catapulted to notoriety when Time magazine featured his ideas in a 1966 story with just three words on the cover: “Is God Dead?”
B. Sam Hart
80, Jan. 19 | Harlem-born Plymouth Brethren minister, church planter, evangelist, and Philadelphia-based founder of the Grand Old Gospel Hour broadcast.
76, June 29 | Former Kodak engineer and Youth For Christ director in Rochester, N.Y., who was tapped by evangelist Billy Graham in 1966 to coordinate and later direct Graham’s many North American crusades. He literally wrote the detailed book on how to organize a crusade. He also chaired the boards of several ministries, including Evangelism Explosion.
73, Jan. 20 | Much-acclaimed Grammy-winning pop singer (signature hit: “At Last”) who also served up soul, gospel, and jazz, and who was ranked No. 22 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
54, April 6 | Popular traditionalist artist whose adult conversion to Christ inspired him to become a “Painter of Light,” mass producing paintings with Christian and sentimental themes to reflect, he said, the values of those who chose to display them.
Robert J. Lamont
92, March 26 | Prominent evangelical leader, pastor of Pittsburgh’s First Presbyterian Church for two decades, and for 25 years president and CEO of the Presbyterian Ministers’ Fund, a leading insurance company serving clergy and families of various denominations.
90, Oct. 21 | U.S. senator from South Dakota, decorated WWII bomber pilot, advocate of social liberalism, critic of the Vietnam War, and Democratic candidate opposing Richard Nixon in the 1972 election.
75, Aug. 19 | Gifted writer and author of more than 40 books, beloved long-time Omaha pastor, and respected seminary professor, best known for his 1975 book, The Singer, with sales of more than 1 million copies.
Sun Myung Moon
92, Sept. 2 | Self-professed Korean messiah (he said Jesus had appeared to him and told him to finish the work He had begun on earth 2,000 years earlier) and founder of the controversial Unification Church in Seoul in 1954.
64, Sept. 5 | Jews for Jesus co-founder and JFJ North American director who in 1971 first met his Messiah. He later met JFJ founder Moishe Rosen within San Francisco’s hippie subculture, and the two of them spent the rest of their lives helping fellow Jews recognize and follow Jesus as their Messiah.
85, Jan. 17 | Fiery faith-healing Pentecostal evangelist who held forth on TV, in tents and halls in many American cities over 60 years, and in crusades in some 200 countries.
88, March 28 | Banjo virtuoso and Bluegrass legend whose three-finger picking style revolutionized banjo playing and elevated the instrument’s reputation. He and guitarist Lester Flatt in 1948 formed the “Foggy Mountain Boys,” best known for their rendition of The Beverly Hillbillies theme song, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.”
96, June 30 | Hardliner Israeli prime minister in 1983-84 and again from 1986-92 who resisted land-for-peace compromises with the Palestinians and led Israel during the first intifada, the 1991 Gulf War, and the airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
88, March 17 | Pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church for 41 years, who led the church to grow amid escalating tensions with Muslims as he advocated for Christian interests while offering support to former President Hosni Mubarak.
82, Oct. 14 | Pennsylvania’s longest-serving senator, a moderate who lost his bid for a sixth term when he suddenly withdrew from the GOP and failed to win the Democratic Party primary.
Arthur O. “Punch” Sulzberger
86, Sept. 29 | Publisher who took the helm of his family’s New York Times business at age 37. His determination to publish the Pentagon Papers (a secret government history of the Vietnam war) against the advice of the newspaper’s lawyers, and his persistence in the face of Nixon administration demands to back off, resulted in a landmark Supreme Court ruling on press freedom and earned him wide respect among journalists.
83, April 8 | Hard-charging competitive tech pioneer whose inexpensive, popular Commodore computers, introduced in 1977, helped the personal computer industry take off. His 1982 Commodore 64 offered more memory (64K) and other features at half the price of the Apple II, becoming the best-selling single personal computer model of all time.
93, April 7 | Veteran broadcast journalist whose often hard-hitting interviews were a hallmark of his career spanning 38 years with television’s first newsmagazine show, CBS News’ 60 Minutes, which debuted in 1968.
89, May 29 | Internationally celebrated blind folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist from North Carolina whose Grammy-winning Southern musical storytelling survives in more than 50 record albums.